Homelessness is a massive problem not only around Nottingham but the whole of the United Kingdom.
A 2016 report from St Mungos found 40% of rough sleepers had a mental health problem because of stress caused by the physical hardship and lack of sleep.
The onset of winter makes sleeping rough even more challenging due to the harsh cold.
Homeless people may carry the stigma of being in this position because of drug abuse or other negative reasons. However, when speaking to various homeless people around Nottingham, we discovered this really is not the case.
For example, this is Kevin. He has been homeless in Nottingham for a year now. Prior to Kevin living on Nottingham’s streets he was employed full time. However, due to family complications and his son tragically passing away, Kevin found himself sleeping rough. This just goes to show how quickly life can change for any one of us and how quickly people can find themselves in these situations.
Kevin’s nights are “often spent sleeping in doorways surrounded by litter, used needles and human faeces.” When winter comes around it is just “another obstacle” for people like Kevin to stay alive.
We are aiming to keep those sleeping rough around Nottingham warm this winter through our non-profit project called Outreach Nottingham. We are aiming to make £500 to put towards sleeping bags, socks, flasks and other essentials. This will make the harsh British winter more bearable and hopefully make a real difference.
The national charity Shelter have recently stated that 1 in every 200 UK citizens are now homeless. We realise solving national problems may seem out of reach, but helping the local homeless community is a step in the right direction.
Nottingham City Council has put aside an extra £420,000 in aid to tackle the influx of homelessness in Nottingham. But we believe more needs to be done to help those less fortunate living on the streets. As Kevin story showed, it could happen to anyone. All it takes is a string of bad events in a row and you can lose control of your life.
To help spread awareness, we have promoted our cause consistently on social media and set up social media pages with the stories homeless citizens shared with us around Nottingham, with photos that bring the words to life. We then have got in touch with as many friends and family as we could to gain donations and get closer to our goal of £500.
Next, we decided to host a charity club night where all money made went towards our goal. To do this we managed to hire a club venue, the manager, John Costello, gave us the night free of charge saying that his brother tragically ended up homeless and that was a very good thing we were doing. We managed to get a few of our mates to play for free, so all that was left was to boost the events popularity, so we created flyers to put in halls and local businesses.
If you want to make a difference this winter, then please support not only us but any charity that helps homeless people. If you want to get involved yourself then you could help out with the Soup Runners Society who hand out food outside Broadmarsh twice weekly. You can also organise fundraisers, just like we have. Who knows what impact you will have?
Nottingham City Council ask that if you see someone on the street, contact the charity Framework on 08000665356 so that they can offer support.
Find out more about Outreach Nottingham here
By Keelan Leeder and Josh Hughes